PISA 2022: a Call for Action by EURead

The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2022 results were announced on December 5th 2023. Nearly 700,000 15-year-old students in 81 countries were tested on mathematics, reading and science. The 8th edition, with a focus on maths, was also the first to collect data on student performance, well-being and equity before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article we summarize the results in reading, and EURead Chair Dr. Joerg Maas responds with a call for action.

Surprisingly so or not, on average, the PISA 2022 assessment saw an unprecedented drop in performance across the OECD. Compared to 2018, mean performance fell by 10 score points in reading. According to the insights, the decline in students’ performance can only partially be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, with falling scores in reading, science, and maths already apparent prior to 2018.

The survey also revealed the fast-changing impact of technology on children’s educational performance. While moderate use of digital devices in school was associated with higher performance, the researchers note that this depends on the technology being used to support rather than distract from learning. 

On average across OECD countries, students who spent up to one hour a day on digital devices for leisure scored 49 points higher in maths than students who spent between five and seven hours per day, after taking into account students’ and schools’ socio-economic profile. 45% of students reported feeling nervous or anxious if their phones were not near them, on average across OECD countries. 

The state of reading proficiency is alarming

According to the PISA 2022 Results (Volume I): The State of Learning and Equity in Education*, reading proficiency is defined as follows: “Reading literacy is understanding, using, evaluating, reflecting on and engaging with texts in order to achieve one’s goals, to develop one’s knowledge and potential, and to participate in society” (OECD, 2019[22]).

The proficiency of 15-year-old students in extracting and processing written information, to understand it and upgrade their previous knowledge, and to assess the truthfulness of the given text by using different kinds of media, are considered crucial for the 21stcentury. Unfortunately, the results show a significant decline in almost all of the participating countries. 

“The latest PISA report shows a devastating situation in most of the OECD countries: reading competence levels dropped once again in almost all countries participating in the study. Despite the fact that some countries performed better than most of the others, e.g. Ireland, Finland and Estonia, the key message is that all countries have to take additional measures to increase the reading competence level. Reading is the basis for every child and student to learn, to perform in school and to become a vital part of society – regardless of the economic or educational level of their parents.” – says Dr. Joerg F. Maas, CEO of the German Reading Foundation and Chair of EURead.

Scientific evidence indicates that, irrespective of the socio-economic background of families, reading from a parent to a child can benefit children and add up to their academic success later in life. This process does not start in school, but is closely linked to the reading promotion and the proper support for families, healthcare specialists, kindergarten teachers, schoolteachers, librarians, etc. 

“The PISA study is once again a wake-up call for political decision makers in every European and OECD-country and reiterates the necessity for more and better reading promotion and literacy programs in each of our countries and in Europe as a whole. 

We as EURead, the European network of organisations focusing on reading promotion and literacy, encourage the European Commission to take the PISA study seriously and to start a European program to increase reading competence of every child in Europe.” – states Dr. Joerg F. Maas

More about the PISA 2022 results: https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/pisa-2022-results-volume-i_53f23881-en

* OECD (2023), PISA 2022 Results (Volume I): The State of Learning and Equity in Education, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/53f23881-en.

EURead visits the Bologna Chidren’s Book Fair

On April 8th, 2023, EURead organised a panel discussion at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Panelists from the Global Network for Early Years Bookgifting discussed a range of topics.

The panelists were: Emmi Jäkkö (Lukukeskus, Finland), Lotte Baert (Iedereen Leest, Flanders), Marijke Bos (Stichting Lezen, Netherlands) and Julia Norrish (Book Dash, South Africa). The panel was moderated by Daan Beeke (Stichting Lezen, Netherlands).

This year’s edition of the BCBF seemed to have more room for literacy skills and reading promotion. We hope this trend will be continued in the next editions.

Early Reading Forum Lithuania

The Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania invites you to participate in the Early Reading Forum. It is a yearly event by the National library that aims to promote a professional and credible message on the benefits of early reading. The event is meant for parents, future parents and experts working with the reading education of toddlers – librarians, experts in formal and non-formal education. We invite you to watch the live event broadcast.

Dr Austėja Landsbergienė will speak about the influence reading has on a child’s emotional and social development, and how we can foster it through reading experiences. Prof. Dr Bettina Kummerling-Meibauer will talk about how books, meant for children up to three years old, promotes the development of early literacy, that is essential in the development of more complex skills – visual, linguistic and media literacy. Dr Ramunė Dirvanskienė will review neuroscience research on the influence a linguistic environment has for early development and will explain how the linguistic environment of families and educational institutions influence children’s brains, also the influence done through different reading methods and the contents of a book. Dr Rita Dukynaitė will present the results of research conducted by international organisations on the reading abilities of Lithuanian pupils, the influence of a home environment on a child’s reading, and discuss the links with parental reading and early childhood education.

The Forum will also present current UNESCO programs for children’s education and reading, and also review projects that gift books to babies from around the world and talk about how they promote reading in families. The activities and future goals of the “Book Start” (Knygų startas) project in Lithuania will be presented, as well as an overview of the contribution of public libraries for the promotion of early childhood reading.

Event programme

Save the Date: Annual General Meeting 2022

On May 4th and May 5th, our Annual General Meeting will take place in Brussels.

The meeting location will be the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union, in Brussels.

We hope to finally meet in real life again, and bring together our members from all over Europe. We will be holding 2 days of plenary sessions on sharing experience and best practices to develop strategies for the promotion of literacy and reading across Europe.

More information will follow. If you are interested in participating, please use the contact form.

Books for Ukraine March 2022

Here are four initiatives of support:

1. The Polish Book Institute and the Metropolia Dzieci Foundation

The “Give a book to Ukrainian children” initiative is run by the Polish Book Institute together with the Foundation Metropolia Dzieci (Children’s Metropolis Foundation). So far the Polish Book Institute has purchased 7,000 copies of books for children and young people from five Ukrainian publishers, as one component of the project. The books are distributed to public libraries all over Poland, especially to the ones close to the Ukrainian refugee clusters.

You can donate directly to the foundation: Fundacja Metropolia Dzieci – with the annotation “Give a book to children from Ukraine”. IBAN: PL16 1140 2004 0000 3102 8012 1088

There is more information here DONATE A BOOK TO A UKRAINIAN CHILD.

2. Ukrainian Book Institute and Federation of European Publishers

The Federation of European Publishers has been asked by the Ukrainian Book Institute whether we could collect, on their behalf, money to print books for children’s refugees in Europe.

Crowdfunding campaign to support printing of Ukrainian children’s books | GoGetFunding

All money will be managed by the Ukrainian Book Institute and spent to print books in countries where Ukrainian kids are refugees.

FEP press release about it (available here).

3. ODILO: Spain

This is an initiative from the company, ODILO. It is called ODILO Stands With Ukraine and you can visit the landing page here.

To summarise the initiative (which is entirely free):

  • Distribute digital Ukrainian content for children and parents / guardians (ebooks, audiobooks, other formats)
  • Provide a platform entirely in Ukrainian with customised mobile applications for iOS and Android
  • Offer virtual tutoring services for refugees to learn the basics of the language spoken in their new land
  • Provide virtual classroom capabilities to Ukrainian teachers to continue lessons with their own classes, but also other displaced students.
  • We are working with Ukrainian publishers directly to obtain rights to offer print-on-demand services from Spain and to distribute hardcopies of their titles to governments and municipalities around Europe who are hosting refugees.

There is a lot more to our initiative as ODILO is one of the largest content aggregators with a platform that promotes Unlimited Learning in all formats.

4. Universal Reading Foundation: Poland

Warsaw, March 7th, 2022

Dear all,
We are a leading reading promotion foundation in Poland.
Last Friday we started fundraising money to be able to buy books from publishers in Ukraine, transport them to Poland and distribute them to Ukrainian kids and their families. This is obviously to help the Ukrainian kids here and the publishing industry in Ukraine – both at the same time.
I am writing to ask if you would be able to help.

There are c. 400 000 Ukrainian children in Poland already and this number is the target of this action. We have a warehouse for free, distribution for free, transportation probably also – so the money is needed only for the books.

The fundraising part is tough – not many people understand how crucial it is for those kids to be able
to have a moment of peaceful booksharing with their moms (no dads…), how important it is for
the psychological stableness of these kids but also – how fundamental for the future of Ukraine’s democracy is the survival of the Ukrainian book industry.

If each kid was to get a book we need c. 400k euros for the books.
A couple of days ago a Swedish author found her way to us and yesterday she started her fundraising campaign among publishers and authors in Sweden for our operation. So we hope that other international book industry communities, other organizations, and individual people may want to help.

If credentials are needed – we can send them.
Please visit our website: www.fpc.org.pl – it also demonstrates who we are and what we do.

Help can be sent through:
a/ https://paypal.me/FPCzytania?country.x=PL&locale.x=en_US
b/ https://zrzutka.pl/razemdlaukrainy/s/chwilawytchnienia
c/ EUR bank account: 31 1600 1462 1871 2526 2000 0005
IBAN PL31160014621871252620000005
d/ USD bank account: 04 1600 1462 1871 2526 2000 0006
IBAN PL04160014621871252620000006
e/ GBP bank account: 74 1600 1462 1871 2526 2000 0007
IBAN PL74160014621871252620000007

For bigger help – we will have a direct euro account in a couple of days please email us at
We will be grateful for all help, #SlavaUkraini!!!
Maria Deskur
Fundacja Powszechnego Czytania / Universal Reading Foundation

Books for Ukraine updated

Pre-Summer Meeting 2021

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

13.00 Welcoming & opening
Dr. Jörg F. Maas

13.05 Update on Global Network acitivites
Daan Beeke

13.10 Update on website renovation
Daan Beeke

EURead network:
13.15 Austrian BookStart Program, Reinhard Ehgartner
13.25 Childrens’ Books Ireland Program, Elaina Ryan

13.35 Questions to presenters
Moderated by Jörg

13:40 Open mic round for updates within EURead network
Moderated by Jörg

13:50 AGM 2021: Call for presentations & themes

14:00 Wrap Up

COVID-19 Activities

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of our members have been actively involved in promoting reading and providing support to families and teachers in their efforts to instill a love for reading in children during these challenging times.

Buchklub Austria

Medienzentrum in Belgium

Children’s Books Ireland

We are Children’s Books Ireland and we’re working for a future where every child is a reader.

Where the joy of reading is felt by all children on the island of Ireland, regardless of their circumstances.
Reading has the power to change lives. It builds empathy, improves mental wellbeing and is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background.
Reading helps us to understand ourselves and others, and the world around us. And, fundamentally, reading brings joy.

Stiftung Lesen, Germany

‘Europe and the world’ is the motto of the nationwide Reading Aloud Day 2020 in Germany.

How can we present this? Clearly, with a fairy tale, read out in 13 languages. See for yourself and listen.

The Finnish Reading Center, Finland

Our EURead member in Finland, Lukukeskus (The Finnish Reading Center), visualizes virtual author visits. Emmi Jäkkö, Development Manager, says:

“In April more than 400 author visits were canceled in Finland and authors lost more than 100.000 € income just during those first months. We had to find another solution. Luckily we had tested virtual visits before, and were able to modify visits quickly. 2019 we arranged 7 virtual author visits, this year around 500. It feels like audiences and organizers have now found this new way of communicating with authors. “

Detski Knigi Foundation, Bulgaria

Our Bulgarian EURead member presents the following link to an interesting video in Bulgarian – “How A Book Is Made”.

“This video was presented to the Bulgarian teachers and librarians, part of the Magic Pearl Reading Clubs network and was used to stimulate the children to create their own books at home, during the lockdown.”, says Valentina Stoeva, Chairperson.